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  • #46
    Deny their expectation.

    --------------------------------------

    its fun to take this to the extreme, and become outright confrontational with it. like dropping a half beat off the end of every 7th measure of a 4 on the floor house song - watch the dancing fools get very uncomfortable
    <div class="signaturecontainer">bird shaped holes in the sky<br />
    http://www.birdshapedholes.com</div>

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    • #47
      I'd like to say that I've been reading this thread inside and out, and that it has provided me with countless ideas and valuble insight. Jeez, your posts have been very well organized, simple to understand, and incredibly helpful.

      Now, here's my problem at times. I sometimes switch from right brain to left brain too quickly. Before I've allowed the idea to formulate I start analyzing. I've written with partners before, and at that stage have a tendency to want to bring to the session a completed idea, if not a completed song, so I may be rushing the process at times...Any help in this regard would be most appreciated. Great thread, Kim.


      The problem you describe here is exactly what's keeping me from achieving my goal. Does anybody have advice on how to get over this tendency? (I would like to hear your view, in particular, Jeez.)
      <div class="signaturecontainer">····Novatio n KS Series User····</div>

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      • #48
        Originally posted by doubled
        I'd like to say that I've been reading this thread inside and out, and that it has provided me with countless ideas and valuble insight. Jeez, your posts have been very well organized, simple to understand, and incredibly helpful.


        Glad to hear that it's useful for you.


        Originally posted by doubled
        The problem you describe here is exactly what's keeping me from achieving my goal. Does anybody have advice on how to get over this tendency? (I would like to hear your view, in particular, Jeez.)


        I've already responded to that post here. If clicking the mouse is too hard, I'll summarise:

        Sometimes you'll start out with a great idea, then start developing it straight away. This is good because you're getting straight into it - seeing what you can do with the material, seeing how far you can take it. Unfortunately, sometimes you'll hit a brick wall because you can't develop the material any further. for example, you might want to write a five-minute piece, but only be able to develop one minute of material from your initial idea.

        When you find yourself in a situation similar to this, it's often useful to start a new idea fresh, tehn develop that to see how far you can get with it. Once you've done that, you'll have two seperate streams of development. Now you have the joyous task of creating even more material by combining the two streams.

        Remember that combining two bits of music isn't limited to just layering them, playing them both at once. Try something a little more interesting, like take a distinctive element from one, and apply it to somethign in the other. For example:



          I'm sure you could come up with many more.


          Forever,




          Kim.
        <div class="signaturecontainer"><a href="http://acapella.harmony-central.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&amp;threadid=361618&amp;perpage= 20&amp;pagenumber=1" target="_blank">The Composition Thread</a> is sticky!<br />
        <font size="1"> There is no heavier burden than a great potential.<i>- Unknown source</i></font></div>

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        • #49
          Originally posted by Motown MoFo
          One thing that I like to do occasionnaly that plays on both familiarity and expectations is to add a measure at the end of a section of a song (usually a pre-chorus or bridge.


          This is a good trick, I'll have to do this. Speaking of tension and resolutions, try going from a Vsus4add9 chord to a V, then I. *Fantastic* motion. One of my favorite cadences (I've tried to get it widely linked with my own name, not unlike the Picardy third, but so far I don't think it's caught on...)
          <div class="signaturecontainer">Where would Kraftwerk be without the Beach Boys or James Brown? Where would hip-hop be without Kraftwerk?<br />
          <br />
          - Ronan Harris</div>

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          • #50
            I wanted to post this as a response to the first post, but didn't have time.

            For those who are more interested in structure, books dedicated to songwriting have some good info about it. I know Taxi has a couple of nice articles about this as well as examples:

            1) http://www.taxi.com/meters0102/tips0102.html

            2) http://www.taxi.com/meters0211/tips0211.html (This one has a keen table)

            For a while, when I was working on songwriting, I tried to write a song in each of the forms in the table. Also, if you see a form that you haven't used yet, why not write a song in that fom?

            Structure is a great way to work with familiarity/unfamiliarity. Modulating a section to a different key in its second or third appearance can really catch people's attention. It seems sort of cheesy, but it really works!

            I haven't really paid attention to the form of the songs on my trance CDs. Guess it's time to start!
            <div class="signaturecontainer">Where would Kraftwerk be without the Beach Boys or James Brown? Where would hip-hop be without Kraftwerk?<br />
            <br />
            - Ronan Harris</div>

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            • #51
              Wow. Way tired. Another night with no megapost.

              Sorry guys.

              Thanks. See you all tomorrow.

              Forever,




              Kim.
              <div class="signaturecontainer"><a href="http://acapella.harmony-central.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&amp;threadid=361618&amp;perpage= 20&amp;pagenumber=1" target="_blank">The Composition Thread</a> is sticky!<br />
              <font size="1"> There is no heavier burden than a great potential.<i>- Unknown source</i></font></div>

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              • #52
                Great thread Jeez! Your discussion on composition is provocative and well thought-out . It got me thinking of how Keith Jarrett performs in his solo piano concerts. I see how he employs many of the concepts you discussed. And, he improvises all of it!!

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                • #53
                  Tap tap... weeeEEEEE.... tap tap... is this thing on?
                  Ladies and germs, It's that time again! Your daily update on The Composition Thread!!!

                  Tonight we're going to take a look at variation and development.

                  Ooh. Before I continue, I should point something out: Unlike the previous topics I've discussed, this one does not make reference to the chronological order of the music. In other words, tonight we're not worrying about the order of sections, etc. "Chronological" means "in time" (roughly, it's a simple definition, just enough for you to understand what we're talking about here).


                  I'll start with variation. I'm sure most of you know what variation is in composition. It's when you take a bit of music (it could be one bar, one instrument, or even a whole section) and you change it. More accurately, you would probably make a copy of that bit of music, and change the copy. The key is that the changed copy still bears some resemblance to the original (ie, we're not talking about transforming it into something unrecognisable).

                  Easy.

                  What then, is development? Development is kinda like a more sophisticated version of variation. If we define variation as "making some change", we could define development as "using a defined process to make a variation". At first glance, the difference may look like one of semantics, but I assure you it's more than that. Before we discuss why we'd want to use development, I'll give you some examples so you know what I'm talking about.

                  Example one:
                  Let's say we have a drum pattern. Let's say we want to mess with the position snare drum. If we were to make a variation, we might "randomly" move the snare drum hits around, perhaps inserting some or removing some. The variation will not actually be "random" - we'd be changing the snare hits according to what we think sounds good. I use the term "random" because it helps illustrate the difference between variation and development.

                  If we were to make a development of the drum pattern, we would use a defined process to alter the snare drum hits. Defined process? Well, we could do something like move all the hits one sixteenth of a bar earlier. Or we might gradually increase the density of snare drum hits (one in the first beat, two in the second beat, ... , four in the fourth beat). Or we might make the velocity (volume) of each snare drum hit increase as they progress throughout the bar. Or we might do all three.

                  Example two:
                  Let's say we have some melody, and make a copy and we want to change the notes on the copy. If we were to make a variation, we'd change the notes "randomly" - according to whatever we think sounds good.

                  If we were to make a development, we might do something like transpose each note one step higher than we transposed the previous note. Or we might change all upwards jumps to equal downwards jumps (and vice-versa). You might want to measure "steps" in your favourite scale, to avoid getting "wrong" notes. Or you might like the sound of the "wrong" notes.


                  The difference between variation and development, is that for variation we're using a defined process. You may also choose to think of it as a repeatable process. We could take the process that we used, and apply it to some other tracks, or another section.


                  From those examples, you might already be thinking about some ways in which development may be useful as an alternative to variation.

                  One advantage (that I've already mentioned) of development over variation is that you can use some process, and then apply the same (or a similar) process to other bits of music. For example, you could perform some development on a drum track during a bridge section, and then do the same thing on the bassline, or the chords, or whatever. Or you might make a development of the main melody, then perform and inverse or opposite development on the bassline.

                  Of course, multiple develpment doesn't have to be just in parallel - you could do them one after the other. For example, you might have a really dense drum pattern. You might have it plain once, then for the next repeat you could use some process to remove some hits. Then for the next repeat perform the same (or similar) process on the previous development, and keep doing that until the drum pattern is empty.

                  Another interesting approach could be to apply a similar process across different lengths of time. For example, you could come up with a process to let you thin out a drum pattern rapidly - so that at the start of the bar it is complete, but by the end of the bar there is nothing left. You could then apply a similar process to the bassline, but across two bars. Then do the same thing to the pad, but across four bars. Then the meldoy, across eight bars.... or something like that.


                  Keep in mind that while I'm using typical tradtitional western music constructs (notes, metric rhythm, drums, melody, chorus, etc) for examples I'd like to point out that these principals (all of them) are appropriate to almost all kinds of music. I choose these examples so the majority of readers will be able to understand them.


                  Anyway, I hope that gives you all some more ideas for composition!


                  Forever,




                  Kim.
                  <div class="signaturecontainer"><a href="http://acapella.harmony-central.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&amp;threadid=361618&amp;perpage= 20&amp;pagenumber=1" target="_blank">The Composition Thread</a> is sticky!<br />
                  <font size="1"> There is no heavier burden than a great potential.<i>- Unknown source</i></font></div>

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                  • #54
                    I don't know if you're also getting to this at a certain point, because it deals a bit more with theory than composition - but I can't help to recommend an URL that somewhat deals with both : Chord Progressions, Simple and Complex. It might help you since the letters "A A' B A B B'" might not exactly stir the inspiration in you, so there's your way to fill in the A's, A''s and B's.

                    The simple map:
                    http://members.aol.com/chordmaps/part3.htm

                    More on chords, how to make 'm interesting and get your A to turn into an A':
                    http://members.aol.com/chordmaps/part4.htm

                    And the complex map.
                    http://members.aol.com/chordmaps/part5.htm

                    Hope this is a worthy contribution, I'm following this topic since it started. I sincerely hope we can let the moderators make this a "sticky" thread.
                    <div class="signaturecontainer">&quot;Part of an instrument is what it can do, and part of it is what you do to it&quot; - Suzanne Ciani, 197x.<br />
                    <a href="http://acapella.harmony-central.com/showthread.php?t=2077413" target="_blank">Synthesizer Programming Megathread - add your tips &amp; tricks or ask how to recreate sounds!</a></div>

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                    • #55
                      i'll tell scott to turn it into a sticky
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                      • #56
                        absolute number one killer thread! you go for my HC KSS forumite of the month award.


                        I'm always fighting with theory...on one hand, you need it to make your stuff sound interesting, on the other its gets in the way of the spontaneous creative process sometimes.
                        <div class="signaturecontainer"><font face="Courier New"><font size="5"><b> &gt;&gt;&gt; </b><a href="http://www.chromelegs.nl" target="_blank">www.chromelegs.nl</a></font></font></div>

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                        • #57
                          Originally posted by Rack
                          It got me thinking of how Keith Jarrett performs in his solo piano concerts. I see how he employs many of the concepts you discussed. And, he improvises all of it!!


                          The Koln Concert and many others.
                          <div class="signaturecontainer">&quot;Music is the best&quot;<br />
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                          • #58
                            Let's try to keep his on topic. If you want to talk about stickies, there's another thread for that.

                            We should try not to clutter this resource - especially if it's destined for eternity (stickyness).

                            Forever,




                            Kim.
                            <div class="signaturecontainer"><a href="http://acapella.harmony-central.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&amp;threadid=361618&amp;perpage= 20&amp;pagenumber=1" target="_blank">The Composition Thread</a> is sticky!<br />
                            <font size="1"> There is no heavier burden than a great potential.<i>- Unknown source</i></font></div>

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                            • #59
                              I'm not sure how this fits with formal composition, but when sitting at the piano making up tunes, which is what I do most of the time just because it is fun, I will hit a wall, not because an idea can't be found, but because there are so many possibilities. To get around this, I try to first restrict myself to a chord progression, then restrict the rhythm to just playing eight notes, triplets, or whatever, continuously through the chords to see if the mind can sort something out, which can include different chords, patterns, etc. A variation is to restrict the choice of notes to two or three tones that sound good with a chord, and then try to find as many ways to vary the rhythm with these notes.

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                              • #60
                                Yep, it's that time again. And again, I've left it too late so now I'm tried.

                                Though... I would like to use this opportunity to say something about the issue of Theory vs Creativity.

                                Some people seem to believe that theory and creativity are somewhat at odds with each other. I think the typical line of thinking is that a person who knows no theory is free to compose whatever she hears in her head. Unhampered by preconcieved notions of "right" and "wrong", the composer can get as close as possible to her ideal.

                                On the other hand, a composer who has studied theory is hindred by what is supposedly "right" or "wrong". Perhaps she came up with an idea, but (consiously or subconsiously) rejected it because it didn't fit within certain "rules".


                                Now, I'm not going to say that this is incorrect. I am in no position to tell you how your mind works, or how you write music. I would like to say though: It doesn't have to be that way.


                                First off, I'd like to point out that there are two kinds of music theory that a composer may draw upon (There are probably more, but I'll split it into two for the purposes of clarifying this discussion). - general composition theory, and "genre" theory.

                                General Composition Theory is what I've been discussing in this thread, and what I'm (personally) interested in. As you can tell by my previous posts, general composition theory is independent of style, instrumentation, size, etc. It is applicable to all composition. The important thing to remember is that it is not a set of rules. As you could probably tell by my previous posts, general composition theory is a set of tools, a set of techniques. It's not what's right or what's wrong. It describes common practices and their effects upon the listener. It's up to you, the composer, to decide what's "right" and what's "wrong" - depending on your context. Feel free to ignore them, disobey them, break them. Feel free to embrace them, extend them, use them to make your own set of tools.

                                In my experience, learning general composition theory hasn't limited my creative strength. On the contrary, it's definately increased it. I still come up with whatever ideas I want, and I still arrange them according to whatever sounds good. But in addition to that, general composition theory has given me ways to develop and extend my ideas to form works of much larger scale. Being conscious of the tools and techniques has allowed me to arrange and develop the material so it is stronger, more complete, and has greater impact.

                                Remember though: as the composer, it's up to you to learn from this. It's up to you to integrate this knowledge into your own style of composition, into your own set of techniques. You have to own it!. Remember: This is art, not science!


                                Another kind of theory I'd like to mention is Genre Theory. This includes "how to write trance", or "how to write the perfect pop song". This also includes Classical Theory - the rules upon which "classical"[1] music is composed. Genre Theory is much more often presented as a set of rules - and rightly so. If you want to compose awesome Trance music, you'd better get out that TR909 and stacked supersaw lead. If you want to compose "classical"[1] music, you'd better brush up on your scales and cadences.

                                Unfortunately, many people incorrectly believe all theory is "classical"[1] theory. I imagine this comes from some lower-school education, where this was the only type of theory that was tought. Unfortunate, really.


                                Anyway, that's all I've got to say for now. Well, that's all I can think of right now (2:30am). Hope it's useful. See you all tomorrow.

                                Forever,




                                Kim.

                                [1] By "classical", I mean pre-20th-century. I know this is not the strict or accurate definition, but I'm using the term in this more relaxed way to make discussion easier. In this thread, "classical" music encompases baroque, classical, romantic, and anything else I can't think of at 2:30am in the morning.
                                <div class="signaturecontainer"><a href="http://acapella.harmony-central.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&amp;threadid=361618&amp;perpage= 20&amp;pagenumber=1" target="_blank">The Composition Thread</a> is sticky!<br />
                                <font size="1"> There is no heavier burden than a great potential.<i>- Unknown source</i></font></div>

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